Although UBC offers services that address the issue of loneliness within its student population, it’s important to consider the type of loneliness; who experiences it and in what way. As an international student, the student residence services website was the most accessible to me and coming from a very similar context (Australia to Vancouver) I found this information relatable and relevant. However, this information may not be as useful for international students coming from other contexts or cultures. Similarly, people who don’t gain satisfaction from interacting with others, people who are highly introverted, may experience and therefore find solutions to loneliness, in different ways. In this way, the support services UBC provides online may serve only to further alienate individuals who do not find “eating with others” or “leav[ing] your door open” as comfortable ways to overcome their personal sense of loneliness.
Chandra Mohanty, a feminist scholar, discusses in her article “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses” about the need to view things from different perspectives, and different cultures. Our different contexts can change our understanding of the world and our experience within it. Although UBC’s methods of combatting loneliness are relevant to its physical location within British Columbia, the students on campus come from many different walks of life. It is important to recognise and honour these differences through cultural sensitivity and respect.Furthermore, it is important to not conflate loneliness with being alone. Most of the solutions suggested
Furthermore, it is important to not conflate loneliness with being alone. Most of the solutions suggested involve interacting with others. For an introvert, this may not be the preferred method of remedying the feeling of loneliness that can come with such a significant and abrupt change of location and lifestyle, as often happens when starting university in a new place. There are already so many instances that require interaction with unfamiliar people when first integrating into a new community that for some, staying in with a good book, or trying meditation may be the best way to overcome a feeling of loneliness. Feeling lonely is a natural reaction to being in a new environment where everyone and everything is foreign, but being lonely does not mean you are physically alone. Sometimes, the best way to not feel lonely, is to be counterintuitive, and spend time on your own.
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1984. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship And Colonial Discourses”. Boundary 2 12 (3): 333-358.
Robinson, Janice. 2016. “Feeling Lonely?”. Vancouver.Housing.Ubc.Ca. http://vancouver.housing.ubc.ca/feeling-lonely/.